VO2 Max is a measure of your cardiorespiratory capability, and essentially indicates the amount of oxygen your body consumes while you exercise. It can be expressed in either ml/kg/min or in Miles/Gallon (although the latter unit has no actual meaning). The most widely recognized method for calculating VO2 max is through submersion in water. This method was first described by Krogh and Lindhard in 1920 but has its origins with the experiments of Pettenkoffer in 1891 . Although quite simple to perform, this test is very tedious, requiring up to 40 minutes of submersion time per individual calculation of VO2 max. It is for this reason that VO2 max has historically been measured by complex and expensive gas analysis systems, such as the ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 Metabolic Measurement System (shown right).
The purpose of this calculator is to reduce the amount of time required to determine VO2 max using a simple formula that does not require submersion.
1.VO2 max based on Resting Heart Rate
This is the most simple estimation that only requires the subject’s age and number of hearts beats during 20 seconds.
VO2 max = 15.3 x MHR / (Number of heart beats in 20 seconds x 3)
where MHR = 208 – (0.7 x Age)
e.g. VO2 max for a 65 year old = 15.3 x 208 – (0.7 x 65)
VO2 max = 15.3 x 208 – 121
VO2 max = 4187
2.VO2 max based on One Mile Walk Test
In this estimation VO2 max is based on the subject’s average speed over a mile and the heart rate during the last 10 minutes of the mile (the “walk test”).
VO2 max = 132.853 – 0.0769 x Weight in lbs – 0.3877 x Age in years + 6.315 x (0 if Female, 1 if Male) – 3.2649 x Test completion time in minutes – 0.1565 x Heart rate at test completion in bpm
e.g. VO2 max for a 65 year old female = 132.853 – 0.0769 x 170 lbs – 0.3877 x 65 years + 6.315 x (1 if Female) – 3.2649 x 10 min + (-0.1565 x 102 if 82 bpm at end of test)
3.VO2 max based on Three Minute Step Test
In this estimation VO2 max is based on the subject’s average heart rate during the last two minutes of a three minute step test. This calculation also uses an estimate of resting heart rate, which typically falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).
VO2 max (men) = 111.33 – 0.42 x Heart rate at test completion
VO2 max (women) = 65.81 – 0.1847 x Heart rate at test completion
4.VO2 max based on 1.5 Mile Run / Walk Test
In this estimation VO2 max is based on the subject’s average speed during a 1.5 Mile Run / Walk test. This calculation also uses an estimate of resting heart rate, which typically falls between 60 and 100 bpm.
VO2 max = 483 / Test completion time (minutes) + 3.5
e.g. VO2 max for a 65 year old female = 483 / 10 + 3.5
VO2 max = 483 / 10 + 3.5
VO2 max = 191 ml/kg/min or 6.43 Miles/Gallon
There are many methods for calculating VO2 max, but this article focuses on the most simple and quick ways to get an estimate. The calculations take into account your age, current heart rate (resting), how long you walk or run in minutes, and what unit of measurement is used. The three calculation options focus on different aspects of fitness levels: walking speed; step-test duration; running pace. >Regardless of where you fall with these estimations, it’s important to know that VO2 max can be improved through exercise over time.